About the Book

Wall Tappings

Wall Tappings

Women’s Prison Writings, 200 A.D. to the Present
March 2002
Trade Paperback · 384 Pages
$18.95 U.S. · $23.00 CAN
ISBN 9781558612730
The Feminist Press at CUNY


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Speaking from settings as diverse as a Roman prison cell in 203 AD, the labor camps of Siberia in the 1930s, and a Philippines prison in the 1980s, the women writers in Wall Tappings explore the emotional experience of prison life and discover the ways in which incarceration mirrors women's traditional imprisonment within society. Wall Tappings takes the remarkable and at times horrifying words of these women, who have been rejected and condemned by society, and offers a challenge to break down the wall that separates us from the often feared and ignored population of women prisoners. "These are the marginal texts in a tradition of marginal texts," writes Judith A. Scheffler in introducing this vital collection.

In the form of memoir, letter, essay, fiction, and poetry, writers such as Saint Perpetua, Madame Roland, Vera Figner, Lady Constance Lytton, Agnes Smedley, Ethel Rosenberg, Lolita Lebron, Assata Shakur, and Nawal El Sadaawi affirm the power of expression. Wall Tappings is a remarkable journey into the lives and minds of women prisoners who write to call out against prison deprivations, to celebrate relationships and solidarity with other women, to comfort themselves and their children under the duress of separation, to strengthen their beliefs, to vindicate themselves. In addition, Wall Tappings: An International Anthology of Women's Prison Writings, 200 AD to the Present is the first anthology to focus on historical and international prison writings by women, and has been widely acclaimed in its first edition: "This book is a ground-breaking one, important not only to women and penologists, but to all who care about the human condition and the survival of the spirit."(Small Press Review)

Marketing Plans for Wall Tappings:
• Editor and contributor interviews on broadcast media in selected major cities
• Wide review mailing
• Direct mail to academic community and key organizations

Judith Scheffler is an associate professor of English at West Chester University. The first edition of Wall Tappings won the Susan Koppelman Award for Popular Culture.